The engineers of Becht Engineering Company's HEA Division have long-term experience and specialized skills in the process design, management and operation, and maintenance of all refining processes.

Crude Oil Distillation and Treating

  • Dave Vahlsing is experienced in crude oil desalting and treatment
  • Don Lieder is an authority on evaluation of crude oil feedstocks


  • Harry Adams is an expert in coking technology.

Catalytic Cracking

  • Bill Smuck is an authority on light ends processing, sulfur management, catalytic and hydro- cracking, and hydroprocessing.

Hydrocracking, Hydrotreating

  • Bill Smuck is an authority on light ends processing, sulfur management, catalytic and hydro- cracking, and hydroprocessing.

Reforming, Isomerization

  • Dick Mitchell Led Reforming Technology Management Committee which provided technical support to seven semi-regenerative reformers in five Sunoco refineries.

Alkylation, Polymerization

  • Frank Schoemann is an accomplished refinery process engineer, with special expertise in HF Alkylation.
  • Jim Wei was Master of Technical Service for Refining, supporting alkylation and isomerization operations
  • Dave Vahlsing has extensive experience with alkylation, particularly HF alkylation.

Lubes Manufacture

  • Jim "Waxman" Eckert is an expert in Waxes, Wax Emulsions, Process Oil, and Asphalt Binders

Heavy Crudes

  • Fred Camp is experienced in recovery and processing of bitumen from oil sands.
  • Ib Steinmetz developed a new process for dehydrating and separating heavy California crude oil.


  • Leonard Krawitz has worldwide experience engineering refinery units, olefins and chemical plants, and offsites.
  • Dick Mitchell was Sunoco's Chemicals Process and Business Manager.
  • Jim Wei has in-depth process expertise in ethylene, propylene, UDEX, BTX, and other petrochemicals.

Refinery Operations

  • Don Lieder is an authority on LP for refinery planning and scheduling.


Aromatics (Benzene, Toluene, Xylenes) are high value petrochemicals produced by the catalytic reforming of naphthas, and recovered from the "reformate" stream by extraction. The reformate may be produced specifically as a source of BTX, or as a high-octane gasoline blending component. Whether or not other aromatics are recovered, it is sometimes necessary to remove benzene from reformate in order to meet US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated specifications on gasoline composition.

HEA Division's experience includes both the principles and operating practice of liquid-liquid extraction and extractive distillation, proper operating techniques for maintenance of solvent purity, and BTX separations and product specifications. HEA Division is familiar with the major proprietary licensed extraction processes and solvents including the Udex, Sulfolane, and Carom processes, and glycol (di-, tri-, and tetra-ethylene), and sulfolane solvents.

HEA Division’s Associates have compared competitive processes and solvents both for new and for revamp applications, at a variety of US and Canadian locations. Typically, such studies involve mathematical modeling to determine the most economic operating conditions (feedstock, rate, solvent) of existing BTX units, and /or the size and best configuration for design of new units, as well as investment and operating cost analysis.

HEA Division's experience also includes negotiation of performance guarantees with licensors for prospective licensees, and the development of the detailed design basis for new units.

Based on your description of your extraction project objectives HEA Division will be pleased respond, describing how we believe we can best serve your needs.


HEA Division has extensive experience in the design, maintenance, troubleshooting, and failure analysis of amine, sour water stripper, and sulfur recovery processes. Process Packages are prepared that can include such things as review of unusual contaminants in the feed gas and design of appropriate methods for handling or removing these contaminants. Specific projects include:

  • New 300 TPD Sulfur Recovery Unit - Tar Sands Plant

  • Grass Roots 30 TPD Stretford (Oxidation-Reduction) unit on refinery gas.

  • Revamp 2 - 30 TPD Sulfur Recovery Units, complete with new sour water stripper

  • New 30 TPD twin Sulfur Recovery Units including amine absorber, sour water stripper, acid gas flare

  • New 50 TPD twin Amine Sulfur Recovery Units, complete with tail gas unit, and sour water stripper.

  • Revamp 300 TPD Sulfur Recovery Unit; periodic amine corrosion studies and fixups.

  • New 30 TPD and 100 TPD Sulfur Recovery Unit

  • Assisted Client during amine system startup on new scrubbing solution composition

  • Provided expertise to E&C Contractor to enable them to bid on and be awarded contract to design and build grass roots amine system for a large public gas utility company.

  • Feasibility studies of sulfur recovery processes for Coal Gasification and synthetic crude production from oil shale.

  • Material Failure Analysis in H2S/NH4HS service - pipe and corrosion testing and recommendations for replacement materials.

  • Sour gas incinerators.

  • SO2 removal (and recovery) from flue gases (Flue Gas Desulfurization)


HEA has many years experience in the area of chemical and raw materials' supply. Projects include:

  • Identified availability, supply sources, and pricing strategies for delivery of large quantities of light hydrocarbons. Established contact with potential suppliers for our client, a NYSE listed company. Developed pricing formulas, delivery options, and logistics.

  • Developed supply options for chemical grade propane, propylene, and butanes for delivery in the Northeast and the Gulf Coast. Prepared a process package and cost estimate for upgrading raw materials to meet our client's specifications.

  • Developed petroleum and chemical raw material supply options, including methanol and butanes for MTBE, and heavy crude oil supply options.

  • Surveyed a variety of petroleum refiners to determine if any could provide a highly aromatic and negative API supplemental feed for our client's coal tar processing operation.  A suitable supply was found.

CAA Compliance Planning and Services

Staff of HEA Division have carried out many studies and projects to identify, evaluate, and where necessary, install alternate routes to comply with Clean Air Act requirements:

  • Ethanol - CAA and Marketing Implications.   Updated client on the legislative, tax, and production history of fuel ethanol in the U.S., and on the impact of ethanol on automobile performance and on refinery optimization.
  • Fuel Ethanol Production.    Estimated capital and operating cost for a grass roots new plant for fuel ethanol production by both the wet- and dry-milling processes.
  • FCC Kinetic Model.    Used a FCC kinetic (math) model to predict the impact of cracking severity on yield of C6 and C7 aromatics in gasoline. 
  • New FCC Integration.    Evaluated the impact and benefits of replacing old catalytic cracking technology with new FCC technology.
  • Catalytic Reformer Benzene Precursor Adjustment.    Reviewed composition data and determined the best means to use available and/or new fractionation equipment to achieve optimal reduction of benzene in reformate product.
  • Aromatics Extraction Options.    Evaluated ways to modify feedstock composition and unit operations to achieve lower net benzene content in finished gasolines.